A man accused of shooting his grandmother and girlfriend in South Los Angeles led police on a chase Saturday to Silver Lake, where he exchanged gunfire with officers and barricaded himself inside a Trader Joe’s store where a woman was fatally shot.
It was not immediately clear if the suspect shot the woman or if she was killed in the crossfire of the gun battle with police as the man fled into the market. The suspect remained inside the Trader Joe’s for about three hours before surrendering to police.
According to police, the 28-year-old suspect got into a family dispute around 1:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of 32nd Street in South Los Angeles and shot his grandmother. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the woman was shot about seven times. The woman was taken in grave condition to a hospital, where she underwent surgery and was later considered critical, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said.
After the shooting, the suspect took his grandmother’s car — a 2015 four-door Toyota Camry sedan — and fled the shooting scene, forcing his injured girlfriend to go with him, police said.
Using a LoJack system, police traced the vehicle to the Hollywood area and gave chase, leading to Silver Lake, where the suspect crashed the Toyota into a power pole around 3:30 p.m. in front of the Trader Joe’s supermarket in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue. The suspect allegedly opened fire at police, who returned fire, leaving the rear window of the Toyota shattered.
The man got out of the car and ran into the store. A witness told CBS2 the man was firing toward officers as he ran.
Moore said later about 40 people were believed to be in the store when the suspect entered. A short time after he entered, a woman was seen being dragged away from the store’s entryway and then being treated by paramedics. Authorities said paramedics tried to revive the woman, but she was pronounced dead.
Her identity was not immediately released, pending notification of relatives.
Moore said the circumstances of the woman’s death were still unclear. It was not immediately known where the woman was when she was shot.
Meanwhile, as the suspect entered the store, employees and customers inside scrambled for cover. Some were seen escaping through a window toward the rear of the business and crawling down a ladder to safety. Police were seen carrying several children away from the building.
The suspect’s girlfriend, who had been in the passenger seat of the Toyota when it crashed in front of the store, was taken to a hospital in fair condition. Fire officials described her as a 20-year-old woman.
Police amassed outside the store, and around 5:30 p.m., at least three people who appeared to be customers came out of the store with their hands in the air — apparently hostages who were released or shoppers who had managed to elude the gunman.
As the standoff unfolded, the LAPD went on a citywide tactical alert, keeping all available officers on duty beyond their shifts to ensure enough personnel were available to respond to the barricade situation.
The suspect ultimately surrendered at about 6:30 p.m., walking out of the store with a group of hostages. He held his hands in the air and quickly dropped to his knees as SWAT officers surrounded him and took him into custody.
The man was treated for a gunshot injury to his left arm. His name was not immediately released.
The suspect’s cousin, Charleo Egland, 28, told City News Service she did not know what prompted the man to shoot their grandmother. But Egland said her grandmother did not want the suspect’s girlfriend in the house.
Egland said she saw a gun under one of the suspect’s pillows on Friday.
Egland told CNS that a family dispute erupted Saturday afternoon, and at one point, the 78-year-old grandmother went outside to bring her daughter, the suspect’s aunt, a glass of water.
“He (the suspect) went in his room and grabbed a gun and shot her,” Egland told City News, saying that he fired several shots before he and his girlfriend fled in the grandmother’s car.
Egland said the wounded grandmother underwent surgery, and so far was “holding her own.”
The suspect did not have a mobile phone, but called his family from the Trader Joe’s to find out how his grandmother was, Egland said.
Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said paramedics treated 10 people at the scene of the Trader Joe’s, including the suspect, his girlfriend and the woman who died. A 12-year-old boy, a 41-year-old woman, a 70-year-old woman and an 81-year-old woman were all hospitalized with minor injuries and listed in fair condition, she said. Three other people were evaluated but declined to be taken to hospitals.